2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT Review

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT
2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT (Photos by Kevin Wing)

V-TWIN VALUE

Remember 1984? That’s the year Apple launched its Macintosh computer during the Super Bowl and Kawasaki introduced the Vulcan 750 cruiser (as a 1985 model), giving birth to a model line that’s still going strong today, three decades later. Vulcans are available in three sizes, powered by a 1,700cc V-twin (Voyager and Vaquero; the Nomad has been discontinued), a 903cc V-twin (Custom, Classic and Classic LT) or a 649cc parallel twin (the new-for-2015 Vulcan S).

The Vulcan 900 Custom ($8,499) is a blacked-out street rod, the Classic ($7,999) has traditional cruiser styling with floorboards, chrome exhaust pipes and wire-spoke wheels, and the Classic LT ($8,999) adds a windshield, saddlebags and a passenger backrest. Kawasaki left prices unchanged for 2015, but colors are new. Our 2014 Classic LT test bike wears Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Titanium two-tone paint, and Candy Mystic Blue/Pearl Crystal White is also available; for 2015, the only choice is Metallic Carbon Gray/Metallic Spark Black.

A single-pin crankshaft gives the Vulcan’s liquid-cooled 903cc 55-degree V-twin a nice rumble, a gear-driven counterbalancer reduces vibration and a belt sends power to the rear wheel. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the Kawasaki produced a broad spread of torque that peaked at 52.0 lb-ft at 3,400 rpm, and horsepower rose linearly to 46.0 at 5,600 rpm. The Kawasaki’s 5.3-gallon tank is the largest in this test, and based on our 47.7-mpg average, it has the longest range at 253 miles.

Tanktop console includes a speedo, fuel gauge and an LCD with odo, trip and clock.
Tanktop console includes a speedo, fuel gauge and an LCD with odo, trip and clock.

The Kawasaki’s deeply dished seat offers a neutral riding position, but the grips are at a weird angle.
The Kawasaki’s deeply dished seat offers a neutral riding position, but the grips are at a weird angle.

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT

Base Price: $8,999 (same for 2015)
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
Website: kawasaki.com

Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 55-degree V-twin
Displacement: 903cc
Bore x Stroke: 88.0 x 74.2mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 15,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: Digital fuel injection w/ 34mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.9-qt. cap.
Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt

Electrical
Ignition: TCBI w/ electronic advance
Charging Output: 448 watts max.
Battery: 12V 10AH

Chassis
Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 64.8 in.
Rake/Trail: 32 degrees/6.3 in.
Seat Height: 26.8 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm stanchions, no adj., 5.9-in. travel
Rear: Link-type single shock, adj. for spring preload, 4.1-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper
Rear: Single disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper
Wheels, Front: Wire spoke, 3.00 x 16 in.
Rear: Wire spoke, 4.50 x 15 in.
Tires, Front: Tube-type, 130/90-H16
Rear: Tube-type, 180/70-H15
Wet Weight: 662 lbs.
Load Capacity: 392 lbs.
GVWR: 1,054 lbs.

Performance
Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals., last 1.1 gals. warning light on
MPG: 87 PON min. (low/avg/high) 44.6/47.7/49.6
Estimated Range: 253 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: NA

MORE INFORMATION

This motorcycle review was part of a larger motorcycle comparison article called Touring Twins, which was published in the January 2015 issue of Rider magazine, along with individual reports on all four motorcycles. Follow the links below to read the individual reviews and see full specs on each motorcycle.

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT

2014 Star V Star 950 Tourer

2014 Suzuki Boulevard C50T

2014 Triumph America LT

2 COMMENTS

  1. I just purchased a new 2014 Kawasaki Vulcan LT 900 Classic. My first ride was a 300 mile trip. By the time it was over I couldn’t wait to get off my new bike ! The problem is the footboards, I hate them ! I’m having troubles getting my feet to the ground when stopping, and getting my feet back on the footboards when taking off. I have searched for a remedy ever since with no luck. I’ve looked to convert over to footpegs with no luck. I’ve considered switching to a mini footboard with no luck. Nobody has a answer for this problem. The bike has plenty of power and style but the footboards are a killer. Any suggestions would be very deeply appreciated.

  2. I put 9,069 miles on my VN900D Vulcan Classic LT in the 3 years 5 months that I’ve owned it and I love it! Mister Red (yes, from the old TV show. He’s red and silver) is my fourth bike and my first V-twin (my previous three bikes were all parallel twins). I LOVE the syncopated rhythm of the V-twin! So much so that I cannot imagine going back to parallel twins and I’ve even stopped looking at Gold Wings. To each his/her own. It is also my first bike with floorboards. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about them but I quickly came to love them and cannot imagine returning to foot pegs. I have had no problems with the boards getting in the way of my feet when stopping or starting. I’m average height for a man, 5′ 9.5-10″ with 30″ inseam. Unlike pegs, the boards allow me to shift the position of my feet during long rides, something the horizontally opposed engine of Gold Wings and BMW prevent. As a private pilot I have a lot of experience with horizontally opposed engines and I once owned a Subaru with one. They are smooth, but I as I said I have fallen in love with the syncopated rhythm of the V-twin. Speaking of long rides, my longest single day ride on it was 306 miles to the Cape Henlopen and back. I was 58 years old at the time and I don’t expect to do it again. That was my “Iron Butt” ride. Yes, 903cc cruises at freeway speeds but I do wonder how much smoother something in the 1500-1700 class would be since all of the “cagers” seem to be running 75-80mph in the 55 zones. Off of the super slab the 900 shines. A neighbor looks longingly at mine. He had one just like it but sold it to move up to a big Harley. He laments that yes, the big Harley does a better job of cruising the interstate, but once on the old highways and especially on country roads the VN900 handles much better. He also was critical of the extreme heat of the air cooled Harley on his legs when in traffic. Bottom line is he wishes he had both bikes for different types of riding.

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